A lot of people are upset with Google for not including the ability to cast photos/videos from your smart phone to your Chromecast. I’m not super upset about it. In the beginning, the Chromecast supported Google Play, and YouTube, both of which are services Google provides so it made sense. It also supported Netflix, because if it didn’t, nobody would buy one.
Photos and Videos on your phone are not a service Google provides. Why is it up to them to make that app? There are plenty of capable developers out there who can do such a thing.
And they have.
I’ve already reviewed an app called Avia, which allows you to cast your local files, as well as your Facebook, Dropbox, and Google+ photos. This ability put me back $2.99.
CastOnTV only put me back $1.99. (as far as I can tell, it’s only available for Android right now)
My first impression, I wasn’t a huge fan of the UI. But as I used it more, I realized it wasn’t so bad.
For photos, you see a typical display of thumbnails, and when you tap on one, it selects it with a green check mark. Once you’ve selected all the photos you want to cast, hit “done” then tap on a picture to start the slideshow.
The app is very slow to start casting and switch from photo to photo. But the quality actually seems to be a bit better than Avia.
I’m not sure how videos look, since it hasn’t successfully cast one yet. I stared at a “Loading…” screen for a few minutes while I started writing up this blog. Eventually I gave up and did some more comparisons between this, and Avia.
Well, tried to anyways, for some reason the app is not recognizing my Bedroom Chromecast anymore, even though my Chromecast app recognizes it. I’ve been looking at the Chromecast wallpaper slide show for a few minutes now, trying to get this app to recognize the Bedroom again. It still sees “Living Room”.
So far, this has been a less-than fantastic experience. On the plus side, the app was only 2 bucks, and seems to cast photos with a bit higher quality than Avia. The downside is it’s slow, couldn’t seem to handle a 30 second video, and suddenly decided it didn’t like the Chromecast in my bedroom anymore, even after rebooting the Chromecast just in case.
OK, so I went into settings and Force Closed the app, re opened it and now it recognizes my Chromecast again. However, when I select a photo or video to cast, it says “Please connect chromecast first” even though I just selected it from the list of available Chromecasts, and even though after I did that, my Chromecast displayed the CasOnTV logo on my TV.
The app is also supposed to cast music to your TV. I use Google Music All Access, so I don’t actually have any MP3s on my phone. When I selected Music, it discovered 4 audio files on my phone:
I tapped on hangouts_video_call.ogg, and it played the file once. It’s also very slow in casting audio files. I have to wait several seconds before playing another audio file once I’ve already played one. The wait was so long the first time, I thought the app froze or something.
I think I’ll give this app a few days to work out some bugs and try it again. I’m not going to give up on it quite yet, it’s just a baby.